This policy outlines Housing ACT's response where illegal occupants, trespassers and squatters are unlawfully occupying public rental housing properties.
Housing ACT will not permit unlawful occupation of public rental housing premises and will pursue this matter to the full extent available under the legislation.
If the occupant has been allowed to reside in the property by the previous tenant without the licence or consent of Housing ACT, he/she is an unauthorised occupant (refer to Clause 72 of the Schedule to the RTA) . The unauthorised occupant is required to vacate the property.
A trespass is an unauthorised, uninvited entry onto Housing ACT land. A person is a trespasser if he/she intentionally or negligently commits a trespass or directly interferes with the land by entering the property without any express or implied invitation, licence, permission, lawful authority, or consent of Housing ACT. If a person remains after being told to leave he/she is also trespassing. The trespasser is required to vacate the property.
In effect the terms trespasser and squatter mean the same thing, however, a squatter is defined as a person who occupies land or a building without the consent of the rightful owner. Squatting is the term used to refer to the act of taking up occupation of an otherwise unoccupied house or land without the consent of the rightful owner. The squatter is required to vacate the property.
Where there is an unauthorised occupant, trespasser or squatter in an Housing ACT property, the person is advised that he/she is residing in the property without our consent and he/she must leave immediately. If vacant possession is not provided, Housing ACT will arrange to remove the person from the premises and initiate legal action if necessary to achieve its objective.